Piguet Fracas vs Versace Blonde: Perfume Smackdown


Post by Willa Zheng


Hello APJers,

This series is as much as for myself, to navigate, curate and ultimately cull my collection to a more sane level. Let’s begin.

Fracas vs Blonde: Battle of the Tuberoses – Perfume Smackdown

Fracas 3.0 and Donatella’s MK II

Few fragrances inspire the near obsessive devotion as the fans for Robert Piguet’s Fracas. Maybe that’s because it’s so different to other offerings on the market or because of the type of women who wear it (Madonna, Courtney Love, Isabella Blow, Marlene Dietrich). Ever since Fracas went downhill in the late 70s (and later discontinued), several such women took it upon themselves to recreate this iconic take-no-prisoner carnal fragrance.

The legend on the internet goes that Fracas was one of Donatella’s favourite fragrances. When Versace wanted to launch a fragrance in 1995 in honour of Donatella, they knew that they needed to create something just like Fracas, which was at the time traded by Adrien Arpel and smelt unlike Germaine Cellier’s creation. The perks of being a Versace!

But then the Robert Piguet brand got sold to Joe Garces of Fashion Fragrances & Cosmetics, who hired Pierre Negrin to resurrect Fracas faithfully in an IFAS-compliant form in 1999. With Fracas back on the counters, Donatella retired her Fracas Mk II.

Portia has reviewed the Blonde EDT here in the past. I own the Parfum and will be battling this against my Fracas EDP bottle, circa 2012.

Fracas vs Blonde Opening experience

Fracas Robert Piguet FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

BaseNotes gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, Mandarin, Hyacinth, Green notes
Heart: Tuberose, Jasmine, Orange Flower, Lily of the valley, White iris, Violet, Jonquil, Carnation, Coriander, Peach, Osmanthus, Pink geranium
Base: Musk, Cedar, Moss, Sandalwood, Orris, Vetiver, Tolu balsam

The opening of Fracas is like being smacked in the face with a pot of makeup. It’s a swirling jumble of carnation, jasmine, geranium and lilac, tied altogether by mandarin. It’s loud, brash, and jaggedy.

Blonde Versace fragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Gardenia, Pitosporum, violet, orange blossom, bergamot
Heart: Tuberose, daffodil, ylang-ylang, carnation, pepper
Base: Benzoin, sensual musk, civet, sandalwood

Versace Blonde opens as a cashmere-soft (violet) buttery gardenia-orange blossom with ripples of a sheer green hyacinth juice running through its vein. Blonde is noticeably greener than Fracas. It’s very harmonious, sensual and confident. The Versace Blonde woman (or man) is sexy, she knows it and she doesn’t feel the need to flash that fact in your face.

Ash_Blonde WikiCommonsPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

Fracas vs Blonde: The main event

Fracas becomes less muddled after 30minutes. There’s creamy orange blossom and dewy honeysuckle weaving through a jasmine and iris-violet cosmetic powder base. It sinks, attempts to get up and then falls into a creamy orange blossomy puddle again. That watery thin creaminess, mixed with cosmetic powder scent, reminds me of another classic white floral, White Shoulders.

Blonde, by contrast, becomes more radiant, a wedding bouquet of every white floral you can imagine – a la Giorgio Beverly Hills. It’s heavy on the jasmine, made dry and green by the addition of lily of the valley, hyacinth and daffodils. There is also tuberose and ylang ylang. However, it is all very smooth and even, like a creamy white bar of triple milled Jasmine-Lily pebble soap.

VelvetStretchwbite WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Fracas vs Blonde: Drydown

The biggest difference between Fracas and Blonde exists towards the end. Fracas develops a distinctive dry soothing sandalwood with a little bit of oakmoss and vetiver. It’s rubbery, woody and my mind is tripping. Without a doubt, FM’s Carnal Flower was based on the drydown of Fracas. Very carnal indeed.

Versace Blonde parfum by this stage is very faint, and smells like you’ve had a shower with the aforementioned soap. It’s linear, clean and frankly unremarkable.

Surrender To Chance has samples of both for your own Smack Down

Have you tried them? What is your verdict?
Willa X


15 thoughts on “Piguet Fracas vs Versace Blonde: Perfume Smackdown

  1. I absolutely love this article. Versace Blonde has been my signature scent for many years. I own both Blonde and Fracas and have to say I prefer Blonde over Fracas. Just as well I have a stockpile of Blonde as it was discontinued some time ago. I love tuberose scents. Even before I knew what tuberose smelled like, I was always attracted to tuberose perfumes. Great article!


    • Thanks Melissa. I was the same. And I think there are still legions of gardenia/tuberose wearing women out there who think that the tuberose is related to the rose plant!


  2. Hey there Willa,
    Welcome to the APJ Family.
    Could you please do an Amouage Honour Woman/Versacxe Blonde Smackdown too?
    You know how much I love both of these fragrances. I loved your take on them both and how they lived on your skin.
    And to Melissa above, ME TOO!! I have loads, of them both.
    Portia xx


  3. Unfortunately not spend enough time with Fracas, but I think we’d be friends. Never tried Blonde…
    But I do love a good old dirty smackdown.
    Doing one myself today, Profumi del Forte Versilia Vintage vs Lubin Akkad


  4. Welcome, Willa! I love tuberose and have both of these in parfum form (have problems with the Edp of both ) and for the most part will stick to my Fracas parfum when I need some big tuberose. The Blonde has lovely moments but is a little too sweet and fatally undistinguished in the drydown. More tuberose syrup than tuberose.
    Really enjoyed your comparison and hope you will do more.


    • Thank you FeralJasmine! I have you tried the tuberose room spray from The White Company? It’s the most photo realistic tuberose fragrance I’ve ever come across! Everything else, Fracas included, is just a scented impression of a painting of the tuberose flower (if you get what I mean) . Yes, Blonde started off promising but didn’t have stamina. I’m glad that it wasn’t just me that think so about Blonde. Interestingly, Portia says her EDC has great lasting power.


  5. HI Willa! I love your smackdown. Sorry to say but I quickly tire of Fracas. I much prefer Blonde. In fact, like Melissa, I have piles of Blonde in EDP and perfume versions, more than I can possibly use in one lifetime.
    Azar xx


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